Apr
07
2017

The future of design…in the present

Posted 226 days ago by Jim Grace

Education plays a key role throughout our entire lives. It begins in early childhood and if we embrace it, it stays with us our entire lives. College affords the opportunity to develop a real focus around what we hope to do, want to do and sometimes are even a little afraid to do.

At Reico Kitchen & Bath, we believe that training to become a kitchen and bath industry professional starts long before you ever get hired for your first “real” job. It's a process of learning that starts and never stops, staying with us all throughout our entire career. Enter the internship. A chance to get real learning and hands on experience in the actual business environment.

We are very fortunate to have a strong partnership with Virginia Tech and their Department of Apparel, Housing and Resource Management. This relationship has forged an internship program that has not only created a pipeline of Hokie interns here at Reico, but a good number of Hokie team members at Reico as well. The Virginia Tech relationship is a special one to us. We believe in the program they are teaching. Its’ mission? To improve the lives of individuals, families and the broader community by teaching students to incorporate consumer, business, and design perspectives into their future career. By working together, we are able to provide their Hokies with active student learning opportunities in our showrooms and the chance to get involved on real-life projects where the clients and the money are real and not just on paper. It also gives them exposure to the culture and working environment of kitchen and bath company, which we love to share.

We believe the training pipeline starts early, so we have worked to grow this partnership with Virginia Tech and other schools offering housing and other accredited programs. We can’t hire every intern, and we know that not every intern will come to work for us. Nevertheless, and most importantly, we recognize the greater good and importance of teaching them…to help them find their way, what they like or do not like, on their way to a first job and/or career in the kitchen and bath industry. “It feels like we learn just as much from our interns as we try to teach them during their time with us,” says Reico Kitchen & Bath Regional Manager Stephanie Steele. “We give them the chance to make the connections from classroom to a real working environment and love nothing more that celebrating with them when they have success.”

Never was that more evident than when we hosted a group of students and faculty from the Virginia Tech Apparel, Housing and Resource Management program. A wide range of students from freshman to seniors looking for insight, internships, career opportunities and everything in between. The event was electric, with back and forth conversation about the industry, their goals and our company. The maturity, poise and enthusiasm throughout the entire group was palpable, and equally mirrored by our own Hokie alumni at the event to help guide their fellow schoolmates on the journey ahead. Most importantly, we were reminded what it was like to be that young learner on the verge of a big life step and why we are committed to this partnership. Having met these students, it is safe to say the future is bright.